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New York

  • By: Sherri Goldstein Cash
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

A diverse history, as well as a record of continuing challenges, has characterized motherhood in the state of New York. This history begins with the Iroquois Indians, with their matrilineal culture, gender parity, and matrilocal households. Clan mothers enjoyed much political influence. These rights were unknown among Europeans, although in New Netherland, settled in 1624, women could inherit property, retain it in marriage, and bequeath it as well. Under English rule, beginning in 1664, these rights deteriorated. Subsequently, activists labored to improve mothers' status in many ways.

In New York, various reform efforts involved motherhood. After the Revolutionary War, mothers gained attention as the nurturers of future citizens, leading to expansion in women's educational opportunities. New York feminists began to demand equality, and, in 1848, met ...

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